Why I haven't taken my child to the library yet

Why I haven't taken my child to the library yet

I have a shameful secret to admit: I haven't taken my daughter to the library yet.


I'm afraid to.

Yes. I'm afraid. This librarian by training, who named her blog "Running With A Book Cart," who had worked in public and academic libraries for years and years, is afraid of taking her daughter to the library.

Why? you ask again.

Library fines.

At a certain point, the fines you pay for late books or misplaced books starts equaling the price of buying your own gently used books. And I just know we're going to get fines--no matter how carefully I try to keep track of picture books, one is going to go missing. No matter how carefully I track the due dates, I'm going to forget. Or one of us will get sick.

It's hard to go to the library very often anyway when we both work full time jobs and are super tired in the evenings, and the weekends are too short. So a missed weekend means the books will be a week late.

I don't even know what the fine structure for Chicago Public Library is right now, but let's start small. 10 cents per book per day. 40 picture books. 1 week late. $4/day x 7 days = $28.

In contrast, I just bought a ton of gently used books from Open Books, books I don't need to return, books that can be misplaced with impunity because we will find it eventually. Books my daughter can read to pieces. Some of them she already has, and I need to tape them back up--which is okay! verses worrying about keeping the books nice for the next child.

Eventually, I will introduce her to the magical wonders of the public library.

Eventually, we can haul home as many books as we can read in 2 weeks, or until we reach the item limit on the card.

Eventually, she can check out those last few books on my card because hers is maxed out.

Eventually, we can use it as a teaching tool for responsibility. When are the books due? Let's match it to our account and make sure we have them all. Let's do some chores to earn fine money to pay for late books.

But right now, she is only two.

In my radical librarian days, I would have been aghast if a parent isn't taking their child to the library right from the start.

Now, as a parent?

I completely understand.

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